There is a concerning trend among a few medical insurance companies that say specifically some minimally invasive pain management procedures on the spine do not require conscious sedation via nitrous oxide with oxygen or IV medications. While some patients with high pain tolerance may be okay without conscious sedation, refusing sedation for all patients is not realistic or compassionate.

What are minimally invasive pain management procedures?

It is well-known and documented that pain tolerances differ throughout the general population. The often misunderstood concept is that for patients who suffer from chronic pain, the nerve endings in the painful areas of their bodies can become hyper-sensitized and up-regulated. So whereas a tiny needle with lidocaine in a person without chronic pain would not hurt very much, in some chronic pain patients, injecting lidocaine under the skin can be a harrowing experience. Not to mention the spine procedure itself can be painful.

The “one size fits all approach” in medicine rarely works because of patient variances. A few patients had procedures with no sedation in the past and had such a bad experience the only way they will agree to a pain-relieving procedure is with a brief and light anesthetic.

Working with Mocek Spine Clinic

The concern of Dr. Mocek as a pain management doctor is that this new insurance rule will inadvertently deny access to patients who need pain-relieving procedures. More of these patients will unnecessarily end up on pain medications long-term. Medical decisions by insurance companies without consulting physicians can have unexpected consequences.

To continue to take proper and humane care of our patients who need sedation for their pain-relieving spine procedures, we have to come up with a reasonable price option for our patients to get the sedation. The patient must sign a simple waiver acknowledging that their medical insurance does not pay for the sedation and the cost will be out of pocket. While many patients opt to pay for the sedation, we hope medical insurance companies can see the value in sedation for minimally invasive procedures and eventually cover the costs again.  

To learn more about your pain management options, you can make an appointment at our clinic or call us at 501.224.4001.